Community disasters: Primary prevention and treatment in a health maintenance organization

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Abstract

In March 1977, members of the Hanafi Muslim sect seized and held hostages at three sites in Washington, D. C. The greatest number, over 100 persons, were held in the B'Nai B'rith National Headquarters for 39 hours. Many of these hostages suffered emotional aftereffects from this ordeal. The mental health staff of a Washington area health maintenance organization (HMO), to which many of the B'Nai B'rith hostages belonged, made its services available to all these men and women, regardless of their health insurance coverage. The symptoms covered a wide spectrum of modalities and ranged in severity and persistence. The case example of a 42-year-old female employee is presented. Treatment interventions followed a primary prevention model using a broad-spectrum behavioral group approach. This article advocates a primary prevention model for the delivery of services in crisis situations. Such a model is also advisable for services provided in an HMO. (5 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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